Firies winning the battle and rain helps

MORE than 60 firefighters at any one time have been on the ground battling the Dunbogan blaze in the past 48 hours.

NSW Rural Fire Service crews were backed up by NSW State Forest and Fire Rescue NSW throughout the ordeal.

At press time Rural Fire Service Inspector Alex Chesser said 80 hectares is expected to be affected by the blaze, but, by the time the spot fires were put out it could be more.

“It’s not unusual for fires in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area to effect in excess of 1000-plus hectares,” he said.

“So on a scale this fire hasn’t been a major fire.

“The biggest problem with this fire was the accessibility and the weather.

Firies winning the battle for now

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“BEING right on the coast we had to deal with strong ocean winds which made things quite difficult.”

Firefighters provided Hastings residents with a spectacular sight yesterday with huge smoke plumes reaching hundreds of metres into the sky. 

“Most of the smoke was due to the back burning crews were doing to fight the fire head on,” Mr Chesser  said. “It looked quiet spectacular but we had pretty good control of it most of the time.”

Some residents along Scarborough Way in Dunbogan were treated to an impressive sight right outside their front doors.

RFS crews began backburning just metres from the road and Ann and Doug Bell’s home.

Flames leapt about four metres into the air in a sudden but controlled burn. The residents admitted they were a little worried.

“We’ve lived here for six years and never seen anything like this before,” Mr Bell said.

“They (RFS) told us this morning they would be doing some back burning but I have been a little bit worried because our home is surrounded by long, thick, dry grass.

“While we’re a little worried, we’re confident they are on top of it, they’ve done a great job.”

At the time of print yesterday there were reports of another fire north of Port Macquarie at Kundabung and online maps showed the Port region circled by worrying fires.

“The only worrying thing would be if the wind changes.”

Other residents Sandra Forbes and Bernie Roberts who live close by echoed the sentiments of their neighbours.

“These guys (firefighters) have just been doing a fantastic job,” they both said.

“They have been really good and they have been working so hard.” 

The fire was deemed as under control by lunch time yesterday.

Crews were kept busy throughout the afternoon fighting the many spot fires that popped up in the area. 

Inspector Chesser would not be drawn into speculation as to just how the fire was started.

He said the main priority was to extinguish the blaze so investigators and police could enter the scene and determine a cause.

Overnight rain which started around 8.30pm on Thursday night may help ease the immediate threats but the ongoing fire season still looms as an extremely dangerous combination of ingredients.

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